Last week, as I listened to commencement ceremonies at Goddard College, where I teach creative writing, I was reminded that a healthy, fulfilling life is full of difficult transitions. One of my favorite graduates turned to his classmates and faculty and said, "I don't know whether I'll ever see any of you again, but know that I love you all."
I bring this up because, for some time now, I've been putting off a difficult transition of my own, one that will involve saying goodbye to many people I love. And now the time has come. I need to step away from my work in the eating disorders field and concentrate on my creative work again. This will be my last post for this blog.
As difficult a decision as this has been, I believe that it reflects a necessary stage for those in recovery. In Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives, we call that stage Discovery. On the surface, the preoccupations of this stage have nothing to do with eating disorders. With restored health, individuals in Discovery pursue passions for rock climbing, improvisational acting, graphic art, photography, teaching. They achieve the dreams that were beyond their reach when they were tethered to anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and when their focus was on "recovery."
With full recovery comes a fully integrated self. This means that you have the power and the freedom to shift gears when you need to. You choose to direct your focus to positive passions and pursuits. You embrace change that opens up your horizons. You "know thyself" well enough to balance your life and prioritize your goals. Acting to organize your time and energy, rather than constantly reacting to the demands and expectations of others, you choose to devote a greater proportion of your attention to fulfilling your own highest needs and loves, while controlling the amount of energy you give out of a sense of obligation or guilt.
Over the past eight years, my research, speaking, and writing on the topic of eating disorders has dominated my working life, and I am proud of both Gaining and Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives. I am profoundly honored to have helped many, many people struggling with eating disorders. But I'm not a therapist or a researcher, or even a science writer, by trade. I am a novelist and a teacher, and literature is my true home, where my mind and spirit are most fully nourished. I need to regain the balance that lets me spend more time in this home.
There are so many voices in the world of recovery that need to be raised and heard. I hope I have encouraged a few of them, and I now yield this blog spot to make room for them. Elsewhere, you may find me occasionally speaking up at www.redroom.com or at www.msmagazine.com/blog, and you can reach me through my sites at www.gainingthetruth.com and the FaceBook page for Restoring Our Bodies. I hope to hear from you as you make your journeys through recovery, out into the world and to the home that most deeply nourishes you.
Thank you so much for all that you do and for all that you are. And always, be well.